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Can a lactating mother pass chicken pox to her baby?

Q: What happens if a mother of a 3 weeks old baby develops signs of chicken pox? She is breastfeeding the child.

A:If the chicken pox has developed that means the baby has already been exposed to the virus. The virus spreads through the aerial route primarily and the exposure through breast milk is minimal. So continue breastfeeding and the immunity will develop but so could the disease. There is nothing concrete that can be done right away to prevent the disease from developing in the baby. Antivirals still would not be recommended as they have their own side effects. Consult your paediatrician if you wish to observe the baby. Watch out for fever in the baby as that is likely to be the first symptom along with a running nose and an irritable baby.

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